Benefits of Plantation Shutters
Plantation shutters offer advantages and benefits to homeowners over other window coverings including:
• A permanent addition to a house: While they don't add much to the sale price and don't guarantee a return on investment, the curb appeal helps the house sell faster. The permanency of plantation shutters allows them to be included in appraisals.
• Versatility: Many have the ability to open only halfway if desired. If you want to let in all the light, plantation shutters swing away from the window to grant an unobstructed view.
• Insulation: When all louvers are closed, a good insulating barrier is created, trapping unwanted temperatures and saving you money on your energy bill.
• Easy maintenance: With wide louvers, a simple wipe-down is often all that's needed. Vinyl shutters can be taken off their hinges and sprayed off for a major cleaning.
• Elegance: The classic, yet modern look conveys a permanency like no other window dressing can. Whether painted or natural wood, they all have a look that says; welcome home.
Wood vs. Faux Wood
It's not hard to argue that natural wood is more appealing than vinyl or PVC. However, "faux wood," as it's sometimes called, has some advantages:
• Price -- Faux wood shutters are often lower in price than real wood.
• Weight -- Because some shutters are made "hollow core" (as opposed to vinyl-wrapped medium density fiberboard, MDF), they can be significantly lighter.
• Moisture Resistance -- If you live in an area with high humidity, hollow faux wood or aluminum core will resist expanding and sagging. (MDF core louvers will tend to expand and crack as the material swells with moisture.)
Natural wood is the choice for those who have a very healthy budget or for whom a specific appearance is a must. Among the advantages are:
• Size -- Because wood plantation shutters are made of hardwood, they can be quite a bit larger than plastic or vinyl. Vinyl shutters larger than 29 inches may be prone to sag, so they need divider rails or other supports which can destroy the traditional look of a plantation shutter.
• Natural -- While vinyl or plastic shutters can be painted to match any color scheme, the natural shades and finishes of the various species of wood have something for every look.
• Classic -- While many plastic shutters can be made to look like real wood, the faux wood finishes can vary significantly depending on manufacturer and model. Up close, it can be easy to tell they're plastic. The warmth of natural wood is a classic feel that's impossible to beat.
Popular Plantation Shutter Brands
When you go to purchase your plantation shutters, brands names may offer a good representation of high-, mid-, and low-cost range of what's available. Which one you choose depends on your budget and your tastes. Hunter-Douglas and Norman Shutters produce three lines of plantation shutters in both real wood and faux wood styles. A higher-end product, Hunter-Douglas may be worth the cost for beauty and quality of workmanship. The Window Outfitters and Sunland produce a mid-cost line of shutters. The mid-range pricing may be for those who are balancing aesthetics with a budget. National franchise and or box stores may not offer an in-house expert or designer. Look to local companies that specialize in plantation shutters looking online may offer a low-cost brand for budget-minded DIYers. Available in both faux and real wood, the affordability combines with the visual appeal to make this a very popular choice for plantation shutters. Regardless of which line you go with, be sure to ask about frames. Generally all manufactures offer frame choices and may add to the cost, but they add an unsurpassed beauty and warmth to a room with plantation shutters.
Plantation shutters look like similar to wooden blinds, but there are significant differences. Blinds are often narrow, made of aluminum or vinyl, and the slats tilt based on a gear and pulley mechanism and they hang in the window with cords. By contrast, plantation shutters have wide compound louvers that fit into a frame and are controlled by way of a wooden rod running up the middle. When not needed, they can be manufactured to swing back onto the wall. Options to are available to build a more contemporary look with a larger view with a “hidden tilt” feature.
Cost of Plantation Shutters
Nationally, the cost of plantation shutters, depending on their size and the material, whether or not they are custom arches and colors or stains, may vary. Most manufacturers want their shutters to be professionally installed to keep the warranty intact which is a benefit to the customer in the long run. They will usually have a limited lifetime warranty.
Cost of Installation
Costs for having plantation shutters installed by a contractor are a bit more predictable. Contractors who have installed plantation shutters before can quickly get accurate measurements and suggest which materials would work best in different rooms. For example, while natural wood may look beautiful in your living room, it might not be so practical in a bathroom where moisture will cause the wood to warp. The size, material, and quality of the shutter will have a significant effect on the cost. Contractors usually go through a shutter supplier and can get various sizes that are not normally available at home improvement stores. Hiring a professional team of knowledgeable suppliers and installers is a good choice.
Here are some sample prices of the shutters most contractors use for standard-sized windows: In general, plantation shutters should cost approximately $20 to $26 per square foot. Labor costs depend on factors such as the contractor's workload, remoteness of the location, environment, and the contractor's overhead. Labor generally runs about $100 per hour and will be added to the shutter cost.
• 16x20 -- Faux wood $120. Real wood $156
• 24x50 -- Faux wood $160. Real wood $208
• 36x54 -- Faux wood $270. Real wood $351
• 36x60 -- Faux wood $300 Real wood $390
• 42x72 -- Faux wood $420. Real wood $546
• 48x82 -- Faux wood $550. Real wood $715
Plantation shutters can be purchased and installed by the homeowners. How much they cost will depend on size and material. Faux wood shutter’s cost depends on size and wooden shutter’s cost will depend on size and whether or not they are painted or stained.
• Natural wood is $90-$600 depending on size. Many companies offer standard stained selection but custom color matching may be available from $175 -$250.
• Faux wood will be from $120-$500.
• Additional tools include: Hang Strips $4-$15 and about $4 for mounting hardware. Locks or closures can cost up to $15 for each shutter.
Finally, if you order them online, you can expect to pay $30-$70 shipping per shutter or per set of shutters per window depending on the supplier. Keep in mind that even if you're handy with tools, installing shutters can be time-consuming if you've never done it before there is defiantly a learning curve.